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January 16, 2006
Recent Acquisitions Build Bentley’s Structural Design Portfolio
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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About this Issue….

Welcome to AECWeekly! In a teleconference this week, Bentley executives spoke about the recent announcements of its acquisitions of two prominent companies: RAM International, a leading provider of design and analysis solutions worldwide for the building vertical, and the Research Engineers International (REI) business of netGURU and the REI flagship product line STAAD.Pro, which provides plant and civil solutions for structural analysis, design and documentation. Read about it in this week's Industry News.

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AECWeekly examines select top news each week, picks out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest items you might not find elsewhere. This issue will feature Industry News, Acquisitions/Agreements/Alliances, Announcements, Financials, Appointments, New Products, Around the Web and Upcoming Events.

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Industry News

Recent Acquisitions Build Bentley's Structural Design Portfolio

by Susan Smith

In a teleconference this week, Bentley executives spoke about the recent announcements of its acquisitions of two prominent companies: RAM International, a leading provider of design and analysis solutions worldwide for the building vertical, and the Research Engineers International (REI) business of netGURU and the REI flagship product line STAAD.Pro, which provides plant and civil solutions for structural analysis, design and documentation. RAM has over 4,600 user sites worldwide, and STAAD has 19,000 user sites worldwide. RAM is a complete building solution, including connections, foundations and assembly drawings. The two announcements go hand in hand, as RAM and REI's products have
been used together to date to serve the same market.

Greg Bentley, CEO
CEO Greg Bentley announced at the teleconference that although Bentley is a private company, they will announce their 2005 revenues at the daratechPLANT conference in Houston in January. Their annual report for the new year will be available at the BE Conference, held in Charlotte, N.C. in May.

Over the past two years, Bentley has been acquiring various companies to round out its product offerings. How Bentley goes about selecting companies to add to its portfolio is determined in large part by the findings of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which, in 2004, measured the loss of revenue due to interoperability, calculating it at $16 billion per year.

The two latest acquisitions, STAAD and RAM, are part of Bentley's strategic direction to provide what they are referring to as “integrated engineering,” which focuses on engineering design and analysis between engineers, in a setting involving “more than just CAD.” In the workflow, integrated engineering will support major applications, provide analysis, design and documentation and operate with open information and standards.

Integrated engineering will also empower distributed enterprises, improve integration and provide more horsepower.

Bentley posed the question, How should there be further integration and comprehension in AEC? Translation issues to and from various structural systems were one of the big issues, which can be addressed with the acquisition of RAM and REI.

'John Lynch,

Vice President
“We've now introduced a new charter and organization within Bentley as a result of combining the product portfolio,” said John Lynch, vice president of the newly formed Integrated Engineering Group. “We cover all materials, product types, vertical domains within infrastructure projects, and provide tools for local compliance for codes, anywhere in the world, and address all other platforms that distributed enterprise uses.”

Bentley solutions to meet the needs of the various roles in an organization are as follows: STAAD, RAM and open workflow approach for the engineer, Bentley Structural for the designer, MicroStation for the modeler, and Powerdraft for the drafter.

The Bentley Structural Design Portfolio will include:

- STAAD, a premier general purpose analysis and design system,

with integrated solutions for bridge loading and component design and pipestress,

broad structural design code coverage (over 60 international design codes)

- RAM Structural System which is optimized for building design;

with integrated solutions for connection, concrete slabs with post-tension support; and

the “Integrated Engineering Office” for drawing production and change propagation

- Bentley Structural, a comprehensive, integrated structural modeling, design and production system, which addresses a wide variety of global structural design projects.

RAM International's founder and now vice president at Bentley, Michael Markovitz and Santanu Das, who served as netGuru's COO and is now Bentley vice president, product development, Integrated Engineering Group, assured users that the same products from their companies would be available through Bentley. All the RAM International employees responsible for sales, marketing, development and support of the RAM products have joined Bentley, so users will continue to interact with existing contacts. The same is true for REI employees, so users of REI systems will also work with their existing contacts. It is planned that the sales teams will begin integrating into Bentley at the first of the

The benefit to existing users of RAM, REI and Bentley Structural will be

- an accelerated development of the existing tools

- increased integration between the portfolio

- opportunities to easily add solutions from the portfolio

- expanded support teams

- easy business relationships

- Bentley SELECT

- supported by Bentley, a growing $350M company with 2000 colleagues worldwide.

Buddy Cleveland spoke about how the boundary between the engineer and designer is the most significant. “The opportunity there is to improve traffic across those boundaries in terms of timing, accuracy, bandwidth - what we talked about - integrated engineering.”

Why is this important to the industry? Integrated engineering stresses the fact that decisions, assessments and engineering analyses performed in engineering are critical components of the entire asset lifecycle, driving it forward but also validating it at every stage of the lifecycle. Interdependencies are complex at this level, noted Cleveland, and integrated engineering is a way for the AEC industry to merge these areas together.

“There isn't anything flawed in the workflows,” added Cleveland. “The major flaws are in electronic communications between team members, working with several different design teams.”

Bentley has outlined the following considerations for integrating engineering and design:

1) Models can either start with engineers, architects or CAD technicians.

2) There are plans to integrate with Revit Structural, set up to design within the tool of their choice. (also other products).

3 ) As you go through multiple iterations of design, now translation as opposed to full integration, understand there is a lot of data (i.e. important structural engineering information) lost through these translation issues.

4) The engineer can use his own tools to gain control of that information, the integrated engineering workflow allows the engineers to work the way they want to.

5) Support for open standards-“Bentley will support specific applications where we're looking for tight integration,” explained Cleveland. “We fully integrate with all major platforms that our engineers and plant managers are using. In building, we have round tripping of data, where engineer and plant designer or structural drafter can update the data and through round tripping can update the process. We have integration with GEOPAK Bridge and InRoads Bridge. We have links to several downstream applications for both concrete rebar and steel detailing.”

“This a strategic direction for Bentley and a new set of users - engineers must work with different systems and applications, and they may be 'CAD agnostic,'” said Cleveland.


Autodesk, Inc. announced that it has completed the acquisition of Alias for cash consideration of $197 million USD. On October 4, 2005, Autodesk announced a definitive agreement to acquire Alias -- a leading developer of 3D graphics technology. This acquisition extends Autodesk's 3D software leadership in the manufacturing and media and entertainment industries.

COADE, Inc. and Alias Ltd. announced that the two software companies have entered into an agreement under which COADE's CAESAR II Version 5.00, the company's popular software for pipe stress analysis, now bundles a license of Alias' ISOGEN, the world's leading software for producing automatic piping isometrics. This will allow engineers to create annotated piping isometrics directly from CAESAR II, thus saving significant time and expense over producing them manually.

DeSilva Gates Construction, a general engineering contractor operating in Northern California, has chosen CMiC Enterprise to manage its operations company-wide. CMiC is a provider of enterprise and project management software for the architectural, engineering and construction (AEC) industries.

Deltek, enterprise software vendor for project-based businesses, and AppForge, the leader in enterprise, multi-platform mobile and wireless application development solutions, announced a partnership that will enable Deltek to deliver mobile applications via Deltek Vision(R) across all major mobile operating systems and devices. Specifically designed for project-based businesses, Deltek Vision incorporates critical functions, including resource management, project management, accounting, sales and marketing, time and expense capture, and billing, to streamline all facets of business.


Skidmore, Owings & Merrill has designed a 69-story corporate headquarters that can produce more energy than it consumes and promises to set new standards for sustainable architecture, the Chicago- based firm announced .

Pearl River Tower, planned for Guangzhou, China, would harvest wind and solar energy. The building's design directs and manages prevailing winds so that they become "invisible braces" that help stiffen the tower, said SOM Consulting Design Partner Adrian D. Smith.

Sage Software announced that homebuilders can get a first-hand look at the latest innovations offered by Sage Timberline Office for residential builders at the International Builders Show (IBS), slated for January 11-14, 2006, in Orlando, Florida. Sage Timberline Office is a suite of fully integrated financial and operations software for construction and real estate businesses.

Company representatives will demonstrate the latest features in Sage Timberline Office accounting and estimating applications, including Document Management as well as task enabled common desktop technology that greatly simplifies usability while supporting workflow that is customizable for every user.

@Last Software, Inc., makers of the award-winning SketchUp 3D modeling software, announced their product's involvement in the making of "Good Night & Good Luck," a 2005 Warner Independent Film. Directed by George Clooney, the film depicts Senator Joseph McCarthy and the news coverage surrounding the infamous trials. The film has been nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, including "Best Motion Picture" and "Best Director."

Kelar Corporation has recently achieved the status of Premier Solutions Provider (PSP) for the Building Solutions Division of Autodesk, Inc.

To qualify for the Autodesk PSP status, a Value Added Reseller (VAR) must demonstrate technical and industry expertise that includes a strong knowledge of customers' business needs in the areas of Architecture, Building Systems Solutions and the Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) Segment.


Capping another year of continued solid growth and increased market acceptance for its signature Internet-based project management and collaboration solution, Constructware achieved a 70% increase in year-over-year sales compared to 2004; 250% of which is attributed to new business. The significant increase in new business sales further validates that owners and contractors alike are recognizing the benefits of online collaboration and project management adoption throughout the design and construction lifecycle.


Quantapoint, Inc. announced that Robert Johnson has been promoted to Senior Consultant for the architectural, engineering and construction market. Quantapoint uses 3D laser measurement technology to create a consistent and up-to-date "digitized building" of as-built laser documentation(TM) that can be used for design and construction - without invasive manual measurement, purchasing costly hardware or time-consuming remodeling. Mr. Johnson will be responsible for ensuring the continuing satisfaction of Quantapoint's existing architectural customers and identifying new clients that could benefit from Quantapoint's laser documentation services.

New Products

Archway Systems, Inc. (Archway), developer and marketer of design software solutions including VersaCAD computer-aided design and drafting software, announced that it will ship its newest product, VersaCAD 2006 for Macintosh, for the new double core Intel-based Macs.

IMSI, a developer and publisher of consumer, business and precision design software solutions, announced the release of updated versions of it popular TurboCAD 2D and TurboCAD 2D/3D for the Macintosh CAD products.

AccuBuild has launched an integrated Document Management module for its AccuBuild Construction Software that provides electronic storage and sharing of a contractor's paperwork and documentation. The AccuBuild Document Management System (ADMS) reduces the administrative costs associated with filing, retrieving and re-filing documents. A simple computer search is all it takes to retrieve a document and make changes or annotations. Then, re-filing, printing, faxing or e-mailing that document is accomplished with a click of the mouse.

BOXX Technologies launched APEXX 4, a top-of-the-line personal workstation specifically engineered to maximize the productivity of the Visual Effects (VFX) professional.

With an extraordinary four Dual-Core AMD Opteron processor architecture, APEXX 4 gives the freedom to smoothly work in real-time on very complex effects and detailed computer-generated (CG) objects. As a true 64-bit personal workstation with as much as 64GB of memory, APEXX 4 boosts the efficiency of digital artists working on the large CG scenes and realistic digital characters that constitute much of the attraction of today's most popular motion pictures, animated features, broadcast television shows, and online content.

ResPower, a leader in the on-demand computer graphics rendering industry, announced another industry first: unlimited rendering for users of the Blender 3D graphics suite, for a low monthly price, available January 2, 2006.

Around the Web

New AUGI AutoCAD Wish List Link Blog

Autodesk To See Q4 Upside On Surprise Rebate Maya Roney, Forbes, January 6, 2006- Autodesk introduced an upgrade promotion for customers running 2002-based products. Starting on December 12, all obit/retirement upgrades from 2002-based products became eligible for a rebate. The rebate is $125 across all 2002-based upgrades and the promotion runs through January 27.

Upcoming Events

January 1 - 14, 2006
Place: Orlando, FL USA
Think of it as your convenient corner marketplace. It’s where you’ll find more builders and more suppliers than anywhere else in the world. Make sure you’re there to discover the products and services you need to keep your business going strong.
January 17 - 20, 2006
Place: Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV USA
Join architects, engineers and construction professionals from throughout the country and around the world for a four-day, market-wide exchange of ideas and strategies.
January 22 - 25, 2006
Place: Houston, TX USA
Schedule compression, cost reduction, safety, business-, and engineering-process enhancements, six-sigma quality, and practices that bring these about through the strategic deployment of technologies that solve real problems and enhance collaboration are at the heart of daratechPLANT conferences.
January 26 - 28, 2006
Place: Adam's Mark Hotel

Denver, CO USA
The New Partners for Smart Growth Conference has grown significantly since it began several years ago--increasing in scope, attendance, and prestige--and is now considered to be the "premier" smart growth conference held each year. The strength of this conference comes from the variety of participants and speakers who cross disciplines to share experiences and insights, and valuable tools and strategies to encourage smart growth implementation and "get it done."

The 2006 conference continues this exciting trend and includes more new partners than ever. They recognize smart growth as a viable solution to the many challenges posed by growth; they may see it as a smart investment, an opportunity to spur economic development, and/or a way to improve the public health. With the challenges our nation is currently facing--at home and abroad--there are more reasons than ever to join hands with new partners and work toward our common goal of creating safe, healthy, and livable communities for all.

You can find the full AECCafe event calendar here.

To read more news, click here.

-- Susan Smith, AECCafe.com Managing Editor.